Plaquemines Parish Government continues to improve 911 Services: Text to 911 is now available
We are pleased to announce that most citizens in Plaquemines Parish can now send a short message service (SMS) text message to 911 for emergency help when unable to make a 911 voice call. This service is only available to wireless customers of the largest nationwide wireless carriers (Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile) when within range of a cell tower in the Plaquemines Parish 911 Communication District.
Text-to-911 was not developed as a replacement to a voice call to 911 in an emergency situation, but rather as an enhancement to reach 911 services in three specific situations: 1) The caller is hearing/voice impaired, 2) a medical emergency renders the person incapable of speech, or 3) when speaking out loud would put the caller in danger, such as a home invasion, a domestic violence incident, or an active shooter scenario.
“All residences should remember, when in an emergency situation, all wireless callers should call if you can; text if you can’t,” said Guy Laigast, Director of OHSEP/911. “Text to 911 could be a lifesaver, especially for people who are unable to make a voice call.”
Wireless customers in Plaquemines Parish should keep the following important information in mind if they send a text-to-911:
*Customers should use the texting option only when calling 911 is not an option.
*Using a phone to call 911 is still the most efficient way to reach emergency help. Texting is not always instantaneous, which is critical during a life-threatening emergency. It may take slightly longer to dispatch emergency services in a text-to-911 situation because of the time involved:
*Someone must enter the text; the message must go over the network and the 911 dispatcher must read the text and then text back.
*Providing location information and nature of the emergency in the first text message is extreme important, since 911 will receive only the location of the cell phone tower closest to the call’s origin.
Text abbreviations, emoticons or slang should never be used so that the intent of the dialogue can be as clear as possible.
Customers must be in range of cell towers in the Plaquemines Parish 911 Communication District. If customers are outside or near the edge of the parish, the message may not reach 911.
Texts to 911 from areas where the service is not available will receive a “bounce back” message telling them to make a voice call. Currently Text to 911 is available in Jefferson Parish and soon to be available in Orleans Parish.
Texts sent to 911 have the same 160-character limit as other text messages.
Wireless customers who use Usage Controls should remove this feature to ensure full text-to-911 capabilities.
Wireless customers must have mobile phones that are capable of sending text messages. The solution is available for customers who use the native SMS provided by wireless carriers. Customers should consult their over- the-top (OTT) messaging provider to determine if and how text-to-911 is provided by the OTT application.
The texting function should only be used for emergency situations that require an immediate response from police, fire or emergency medical services when a voice call cannot be made.
Text-to-911 should only be used to communicate between emergency help and the texter. No pictures, video, other attachments, or other recipients can be appended to the message.